Alexis Neiers criticizes Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring’.

“You have this opportunity to do something really great and dig deeper and look at the complexity,” she said. “But it’s just lazy.”

The real-life ringleader of the bling ring didn’t see much shine in Sofia Coppola’s true crime adaptation, The Bling Ring.

Alexis Haines, née Neiers, criticized Coppola’s 2013 film starring Emma Watson as Nikki, a character loosely based on herself. “That’s what’s so frustrating when someone as brilliant as Sofia Coppola and an actress as wonderful as Emma Watson is working on a film together,” Haines told Entertainment Weekly. “You have the opportunity to do something really great and dig deeper and look at the complexity, but it’s just lazy.”

Haines tells her story in the upcoming Netflix docuseries The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist. Haines is no stranger to television, having previously starred in E!’s reality series Pretty Wild. alongside her mother Andrea Arlington and sisters Gabrielle Neiers and Tess Taylor. All four also appear in the Netflix docuseries. And no, Haines hasn’t seen Coppola’s film for nearly a decade since its release.

“I’m a busy mother of two,” said Haines. “If I sit down for two hours, it’s not to watch ‘The Bling Ring.’ When I was making this documentary, they let me watch parts of the film and ask my opinion on it.”

Haines and her friends broke into a series of properties owned by high-profile figures in 2008-2009. However, Haines claims she only broke into one house, while Watson’s hybrid character Nikki cites multiple break-ins. In total, the “Ring” stole approximately $3 million worth of clothing and personal belongings from the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson and “The Hills” star Audrina Patridge, who is also in the new movie to watch is Netflix series.

“I think the docuseries is so great because, until recently, media coverage didn’t really have room for the nuance and complexity of what happened in the crime,” Haines applauded the Netflix documentary. “The story became sensational and there was no space to talk about addiction and mental health. We still have a long way to go, but we are so much further than 2010.”

Haines called Coppola’s film “trashy and inaccurate” at the time of its release. Years later, Haines revealed that she struggled with addictions to OxyContin and heroin as a teenager.

“My involvement with the bling ring was ultimately what helped me get sober,” Haines said. “I’m sorry that it had to be at the expense of someone else or many other people, my family, obviously the victims [of the crimes]. But I’m so thankful.”

Netflix’s The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist producer-director Miles Blayden-Ryall told EW, “The impression I got from the existing crime-era media was that they were spoiled by ‘ ‘bored and celebrity obsessed’ teenagers”, however this narrative felt far too reduced and lacked any nuance. This story was much more complex than the press surrounding the crime would have you believe.”

In 2013, The Bling Ring director Coppola said that real-life crimes had the “elements of a fun pop movie” with a “deeper level” that delved into modern celebrity culture. Coppola met with Haines while preparing for the film and admitted in an interview with The Guardian that her “side of the story is very different”.

“I met with her, but her version is that she was less involved,” Coppola said. “But the children’s shot was interesting for me. When they made press and finally got that celebrity status they craved, they were a bit delusional about why that was happening. Alexis didn’t want to talk about the robbery: she seemed to think they were being interviewed because of their style or something. So I thought their perspective on it provided this very different element that showed how involved they were in celebrity. This part of our culture used to be small — this pop, “guilty pleasure” side of things. Now it just won’t stop growing.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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